Harbaugh gaining on Urban… in Twitter followers


We’ve not been shy HERE… and HERE… and HERE… and HERE in making it known that those of us at CFT are unabashed fans of Jim Harbaugh‘s Twitter account. And, based on the raw numbers, we’re not even remotely alone.

Despite the account being barely two months old, the Michigan Man hired at the culmination of Project Unicorn  is already No. 2 among college football head coaches when it comes to the number of followers with 197,365 (as of approximately 8:40 a.m. ET Saturday). No. 1? With no hint of irony, it’s the head coach of Michigan’s bitter rival, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, with 240,279 followers as the former attempts to narrow the canyon-esque on-field gap between the two programs.

There are actually three Big Ten head coaches inside the Top 10 — Penn State’s James Franklin is ninth with 100,857 followers — with another, Nebraska’s Mike Riley (96,004), just outside that realm at No. 11.

As is normally the case, though — except for back-to-back non-title seasons, of course — the SEC heads the class, with that conference’s coaches taking up six of the spots in the Top 10: Tennessee’s Butch Jones ( No. 3 with 174,981), Georgia’s Mark Richt (No. 4 with 161,369), LSU’s Les Miles (No. 5 with 159,534), Arkansas’ Bret Bielema (No. 7 with 117,414), Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (No. 8 with 114,835) and Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze (No.10 with 97,424).

The only SEC West coaches missing from that list are Nick Saban of Alabama and Dan Mullen of Mississippi State. The former has no Twitter account — and as a technophobe loathes texting, emailing and Googling as well — while the latter is 16th in followers with 74,259.

The only head coach not from the Big Ten or SEC in the Top 10 is Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, whose 124,309 followers are good for sixth nationally.

For a reference point as to those numbers, and because I’m bored at the moment, here are the Top Five in followers from back in early November, as detailed in The Fifth Quarter for Week 11: Miles (145,000), Jones (144,000), Richt (137,000), Meyer (134,000) and Kelly (118,000).

And one final important number: the 2015 season kicks off in exactly 180 days.

(Tip O’ the Cap: ElevenWarriors.com)

Arkansas’ Kamren Curl cannonballs into NFL draft pool

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For the first time this cycle, it’s Arkansas feeling the brunt of an early-entry decision.

By way of his personal Twitter account, Kamren Curl announced that he “will be forgoing my senior year and will be declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft.” The safety ended the social-media missive, “I will truly miss playing for the state, these fans, and my brothers from my freshman year to now who will be family forever.”

Curl, a three-star 2017 signee, began his time in Fayetteville as a cornerback before moving to safety prior to his sophomore campaign.  He started 22 games the past two seasons.

Curl’s 76 tackles this past season were good for fourth on the team.  He was also credited with four tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions.

San Diego State loses QBs coach Blane Morgan to FCS head job

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For the second time this spinning of the coaching carousel, a Left Coast FBS program has lost an assistant to its little brother level of college football.

First, it was Cal losing offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin to the head job FCS Cal Poly.  This time around it’s San Diego State, with FCS Lamar officially introducing Blane Morgan as its new head football coach.

Morgan spent the past five seasons as the quarterbacks coach at SDSU.  Before that, he was at alma mater Air Force for a dozen years as, at various times, wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.

Blane has been a key part of our 48-18 record over the past five years. He understands what it takes to win and is a proven winner. He’s gotten the most out of his players, and their consistent play is a big reason for our two conference championships since he’s been here. He should make an outstanding head coach.

Blane Morgan is going to be a great college head coach! He was a tremendous quarterback as a player and was one of the most competitive players and coaches that we had in the program at the Air Force Academy. Being the son of a great and very successful high school coach, and also being on the staff of one of the nation’s premier defensive coaches in the college game makes him well qualified and ready for this responsible job. He will be a great role model and mentor to the players! Players and supporters will love his beautiful family and they will be inspired by his leadership. Lamar University has found a nugget.

In Blane Morgan and his family, Lamar is getting a first-class leader that bleeds for their home state of Texas. He’s a superb coach and will be a tremendous representative of the university.

Jeff Traylor brings in five new assistants, retains one at UTSA

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It goes without saying that Jeff Traylor has hit the ground running in San Antonio.

Monday, Traylor was officially introduced as the new head football coach at UTSA.  Thursday, Traylor announced that he has brought in five new assistants and retained another as part of his first coaching staff with the Roadrunners.

Those assistant coaches are:

  • Daniel Da Prato (special teams coordinator)
  • Nick Graham (cornerbacks)
  • Julian Griffin (running backs)
  • Jess Loepp (safeties/recruiting coordinator)
  • Matt Mattox (run-game coordinator/offensive line)
  • Rod Wright (defensive line)

Wright is the only holdover from Frank Wilson‘s last staff at the school.

Da Prato (special teams), Griffin (offensive quality control assistant) and Loepp (offensive analyst) all come to UTSA from Arkansas.  Traylor spent the past two seasons as the associate head coach and running backs coach with the Razorbacks.

Graham (defensive assistant) and Mattox (offensive coordinator) were both at McNeese State for the 2019 season.

With yesterday’s developments, Traylor has just four more openings on his on-field staff to fill.  Unless he gets raided by another football program, of course.

Second App State assistant added to Eli Drinkwitz’s Mizzou staff

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For the second time Thursday, Eli Drinkwitz has added an assistant to his new Missouri coaching staff. And, for the second time, it’s a member of his old Appalachian State.

First, Charlie Harbison was announced as a defensive assistant whose specific duties will be spelled out later. Next, it’s Erik Link being the second confirmed addition as part of Drinkwitz’s 10-man on-field staff.

Unlike Harbison, though, Link’s role has already been defined — special teams coordinator. That’s the same job Link held with the Mountaineers in 2019, his first and only season with the Sun Belt Conference school.

“Erik is a man of high character with a background in teaching and coaching,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “His special teams units are detailed and very sound, and his guys play hard. They focus on effort, execution and high energy.”

Link was the special teams coordinator at Louisiana Tech in 2018, his first season as an on-field assistant at the FBS level. In 2011-12, he was the special teams coordinator at FCS Montana State.

In two separate stints at Auburn, he served as a quality control assistant (2010) and special teams/offensive analyst (2013-15).